20181107_MET_VOTE_DH02

Voters line up inside the Shady Grove precinct in Hanover County on Nov. 6, 2018

Ahead of the Nov. 5 legislative elections in which all 140 seats are at stake, the Richmond Times-Dispatch news department posed three questions to candidates running in 18 contests in the Richmond area.

Answers that exceeded 100 words were edited for length in Sunday's print version, but run here at full length.

RTD Opinions asked candidates five additional questions. Look for excerpts of those responses in Sunday's Commentary section and for the full responses this weekend on Richmond.com.

To determine your House and Senate districts, click on the Citizen Portal at the Department of Elections website or call the voter registrar in your city or county.

- Andrew Cain


House District 27

Part of Chesterfield County

Roxann Robinson

Robinson

Del. Roxann Robinson, Republican

Question: Why should voters elect you to represent the legislative district?

Answer: My number one priority as a legislator is to be the voice of the 80,000 people in the 27th District. I wish to continue being that voice. The voters deserve someone who will listen and communicate with them. Serving the constituents of the 27th District is an extraordinary honor.

Question: What are the top three policy issues you want to tackle and why?

Answer: Education - I supported a 5% teacher pay increase. Virginia teachers are still below the national average. We must work to change that as well as address our teacher shortage.

Standing up for Domestic Violence Victims - In 2019, I was proud to vote for legislation that would send repeat domestic abusers to jail for 60 days. Unfortunately, Governor Northam vetoed it. I will continue to work to enact common-sense legislation for victims.

Giving back to the Community while Maintaining a Balanced Budget - Virginia ended this past fiscal year with a surplus. $431 million went back to taxpayers as a rebate check.

Question: What is an issue that doesn't get enough attention from the legislature?

Answer: As mentioned before, the General Assembly has tried to protect domestic abuse victims. The bill I voted for in 2019 would have given repeat domestic abusers a minimum of 60 days in jail. Two months would give abuse victims a head start to begin rebuilding their lives and their kids’ lives. This is not a partisan issue and working together we can give these victims the necessary protections they deserve.

Larry Barnett

Larry Barnett

Larry Barnett, Democrat

Question: Why should voters elect you to represent the legislative district?

Answer: For more than three decades, I have served our community as a mental health professional with Chesterfield County Mental Health Support Services. As Director of Emergency Services, I worked with first responders and law enforcement officers on de-escalation skills, awareness of mental health issues, and effectively and safely responding to people in crisis.

Running for office is a continuation of my career in public service, and I hope to bring my perspective as a mental health professional to the General Assembly. I’ll work together with Republicans and Democrats to get things done.

Question: What are the top three policy issues you want to tackle and why?

Answer: Health and education are two pillars of a vibrant community. People are attracted to this region because of our quality public schools, but with teacher salaries below the national average we risk our ability to recruit and retain educators.

Clean air and water are vital for a healthy community. Also, access to health care is essential. Medicaid expansion has now made it possible for families to access preventative care, rather than emergency care. Prevention is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve outcomes. This is an example of what we need in Virginia: health care that is accessible and affordable.

Question: What is an issue that doesn’t get enough attention from the legislature?

Answer: As a mental health professional, I believe that gun violence is one of our top public health crises. I fully support common-sense reform efforts that would reduce risk and keep our community safe. For example, Red Flag laws that temporarily remove firearms from someone during a crisis. In my work as Director of Emergency Services, I saw how family members struggled to safely see their loved ones through times of crisis. Red Flag laws would enable this to take place under the supervision of the courts, could help to prevent suicides, and would place the person’s health and safety first.


House District 55

Parts of Caroline, Hanover and Spotsylvania counties

Buddy Fowler

Del. Buddy Fowler, R-Hanover

Del. Buddy Fowler, Republican

Question: Why should voters elect you to represent the legislative district?

Answer: The first reason is experience. I am finishing my third term representing the 55th House District and that experience enables me to make a positive legislative impact in the General Assembly. In addition, my philosophy of limited government, low taxes, reducing regulations, maintaining the availability of low-cost energy, common-sense environmental stewardship, and maintaining a positive business environment is in line with the prevailing views of my constituents.

Question: What are the top three policy issues you want to tackle and why?

Answer: The General Assembly must expand access to health care, including prescription drugs, in order to meet increased demand for services. The General Assembly needs to continue to examine current tax credits for their effectiveness. Finally, the General Assembly should revisit VDOT’s current “smart scale” transportation project funding formula in order to ensure a level playing field so that every region in the commonwealth has an equal opportunity to compete for road funding.

Question: What is an issue that doesn’t get enough attention from the legislature?

Answer: Tax Reform! I have discussed this issue with practically every member of the VA House of Delegates and there is universal agreement on the need for change. However, the size and scope of state and local tax reform would require an enormous political effort on the part of the governor and the General Assembly and we are not there yet.

Morgan Goodman

Morgan Goodman

Morgan Goodman, Democrat

Question: Why should voters elect you to represent the legislative district?

Answer: I believe that we need leaders that will actively work to bridge the "us vs. them" mentality in politics right now. I will listen to all constituents of the 55th District and work to find common ground that will move the district forward. I believe we need legislators that listen, not to wealthy donors, corporations, and party players, but to every citizen of their district that they were elected to represent.

Question: What are the top three policy issues you want to tackle and why?

Answer: I will work to protect our natural resources and increase renewable energy to make sure Virginia is not left behind in the new green business economy. I will fight to ensure our schools, teachers, and students get the resources they need to succeed in the 21st century. And I will work to address the lack of broadband internet access in rural areas, because it's 2019 and we must do better for our rural communities.

Question: What is an issue that doesn’t get enough attention from the legislature?

Answer: I have spent my career working to protect our natural resources and I don't see environmental issues getting enough attention from the legislature. Virginia has an opportunity to be a leader in environmental protection and promoting green businesses that will strengthen our economy, our working families, and our environment.


House District 56

Parts of Goochland, Henrico and Spotsylvania counties, all of Louisa County

John McGuire

McGuire

Del. John McGuire, Republican

Question: Why should voters elect you to represent the legislative district?

Answer: I served our country for 10 years as a Navy SEAL and then started a business in the area 20 years ago. I learned first-hand the challenges of making payroll while facing the burden of government regulation. Two years ago, the voters elected me to represent them in the General Assembly. We brought a team together to solve problems instead of playing partisan games. Our team remained focused on bringing people together to solve problems for everyday citizens of our district. We helped give teachers a 5 percent pay raise without raising your taxes while balancing the budget. We honored veterans by creating a free veterans ID; something that failed for the previous 10 years. We successfully assisted a corporate citizen negotiate government regulations so he could fairly market his business without costing the state $100 million. That was an eight-year problem we solved in my first week. Our team brought legislators on both sides of the aisle together to pass a bipartisan bill that has helped cut down opioid deaths in Virginia. My personal favorite was helping a Vietnam veteran fly his flag again after making national news 20 years ago when the court told him to take down his flagpole. The best part is we achieved many of these victories without legislation but instead brought people together to find common-sense solution as a team.

Question: What are the top three policy issues you want to tackle and why?

Answer: Jobs, the opioid crisis, and education. Job creation and economic growth is the most important issue facing the commonwealth. By encouraging economic growth through low taxes, we can create higher-paying jobs and lift more people out of poverty. The opioid crisis has devastated Virginia with more deaths than gun violence and car accidents. Overprescription of pills and drug trafficking over the Southern border have contributed to this epidemic and it sickens me to see. On education, my priorities are raising teacher pay/teacher retention, putting more money into the classroom, eliminate SOL testing, expanding and improving CTE, and community business relationships. Our children are my number one priority and we need to ensure they are prepared for the future.

 Question: What is an issue that doesn’t get enough attention from the legislature?

 Answer: Foster Care. I grew up in foster care and I was abandoned by my mom at the age of 5. I had several mean, vicious, and criminal foster homes that I survived. My grandparents rescued me from foster care and I was raised by them through high school. The foster care system is in desperate need of reform.

Trauma, especially as it relates to kids in foster care, affects children’s mental health and how they learn in schools. Acting on adverse child experiences and the trauma that results from them is perhaps the number one thing the General Assembly could do not only to save tax dollars, but also create a healthy, thriving population of kids, even adults, in Virginia.

Juanita Jo Matkins

Juanita Jo Matkins

Juanita Jo Matkins, Democrat

Question: Why should voters elect you to represent the legislative district?

Answer: I have lived in the district for more than 40 years; I know about the district’s needs. In many cases my own experiences illustrate the needs. A teacher and professor of science education for 40 years, I will advocate for public education. Lack of access to broadband has led me to the local McDonald's to use the Wi-Fi to do my campaign work. Access to high-quality health care made me a breast cancer survivor. I want everyone to have access to a great public education, to the opportunities high-speed internet provides, and to health care that supports a good life.

Question: What are the top three policy issues you want to tackle and why?

Answer: My top three priorities are health care, education, and broadband. I have talked to constituents who must choose between paying for their groceries and paying for their prescription medicines, a choice no one should be forced to make. One of my constituents, a teacher, said she is moving to Maryland because she cannot afford to teach in Virginia. Our children deserve the best teachers possible. Our students also need reliable broadband to thrive in today’s world. Broadband is also vital to business owners and farmers. An FCC report showed only 56% of my constituents in Louisa County have access to broadband.

Question: What is an issue that doesn’t get enough attention from the legislature?

Answer: The needs of rural communities are often overlooked in the legislature. This is especially clear with the lack of attention given to the need for high-speed internet in the rural areas of the commonwealth. In 2019 the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative awarded $4.9 million to 12 counties for broadband projects. In Louisa County alone, estimates range from $75-$125 million to provide broadband for its citizens. The legislature should be looking at incentives for electric cooperatives and public utilities to partner with communities, and should be supporting the ability of localities to generate income to power these partnerships.


House District 62

Parts of Chesterfield, Henrico and Prince George counties; part of the city of Hopewell

Carrie Coyner

Carrie Coyner

Carrie Coyner, Republican

Question: Why should voters elect you to represent the legislative district?

Answer: For the last eight years, I have served my community on the Chesterfield County School Board advocating for every child and family out of a deep love for the people I represent. Growing up in the community, owning a business for 15 years, and raising our family here, there isn’t a neighborhood I go into where I don’t know someone from my childhood or now as an adult, and I believe truly knowing the people you represent makes for the best representation and what our democracy is founded on – an active member of our community representing our collective voice.

Question: What are the top three policy issues you want to tackle and why?

Answer: While on the Chesterfield County School Board, I’ve consistently supported raising teacher pay and I will continue advocating to raise teacher pay to the national average to attract and retain the best teachers.

As an attorney and small business owner of 15 years, I’ve helped small businesses create jobs and will continue to work to make it easier for small businesses to expand and bring more jobs to our community.

I will work to put health care first and support new laws that would give Virginians more choices in health insurance, reduce premiums, and lower overall health care costs.

Question: What is an issue that doesn’t get enough attention from the legislature?

Answer: While the issue of affordable housing has received some attention in recent years — especially the issue of evictions during the 2019 session — the gamut of housing needs deserves far greater attention. From homelessness to affordable home ownership, many Virginians struggle to secure and maintain safe, sanitary, affordable housing. When individuals or families suffer housing instability or fiscal stress because of high housing costs, they are far more likely to experience educational under performance, job loss, and poor health. Affordable housing is the foundation on which our collective quality of life rests, we must pay greater attention to it.

Lindsey Dougherty

Lindsey Dougherty

Lindsey Dougherty, Democrat

Question: Why should voters elect you to represent the legislative district?:

Answer: I know what it’s like to struggle and how to overcome it. I am not a politician, I’m a mom who has worked full time since I was 18. Our community needs someone who represents their values, their struggles, and will fight for them in Richmond.

Question: What are the top three policy issues you want to tackle and why?

Answer: My top three policy focuses are on health care, education, and community investment. In Virginia, no one should go without a prescription their doctor prescribed because of cost. Our schools need to serve all students regardless of ZIP code and provide them with opportunities to thrive. My focus is on strategic investments in our community, so we can all grow and thrive as a community.

Question: What is an issue that doesn’t get enough attention from the legislature?

Answer: The General Assembly is not taking enough action on addressing mental health care access in our communities. We need to provide access for treatment to those needing support. Currently, access to emergency mental health beds is at crisis levels requiring patients to drive hours across the commonwealth for a bed, while wait times for routine mental health care needs require months of waiting for a first appointment.


House District 63

Parts of Chesterfield, Dinwiddie and Prince George counties, Petersburg, part of Hopewell

Lashrecse Aird

Del. Lashrecse D. Aird, D-Petersburg

Del. Lashrecse Aird, Democrat

Question: Why should voters elect you to represent the legislative district?

Answer: If re-elected to the House of Delegates, the intensity of my focus to strengthen the quality of life for citizens of the 63rd District will only deepen. During my first two terms in office I have both advocated and achieved major gains for individuals and families. To include, but not limited to, significant financial resources for our K-12 and higher education institutions, strategic tax credits to attract jobs to our region, protections to ensure workers are entitled to proof of their income, 315k to combat maternal mortality, the establishment of the clean energy advisory board, eviction reforms and so much more.

Question: What are the top three policy issues you want to tackle and why?

Answer: 63rd District families and individuals care most about their health care, access to quality jobs and their school systems. If re-elected I will continue to prioritize making sure health care is affordable and accessible, work to strengthen our mental health system and support resources for addiction prevention. It’s also my goal to remove barriers for employment diversity employment opportunities. Lastly, I am deeply committed to finding solutions to replace or ensure proper maintenance of our crumbling schools, make sure our school systems are being fully invested in and that teachers receive the salary they deserve.

Question: What is an issue that doesn’t get enough attention from the legislature?

Answer: As a legislature we have not spent enough time focusing on how the automation of jobs and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in policing and government overall will impact the privacy of Virginians and the critical work that is conducted at our state agencies. AI and emerging technologies prove to offer efficiency in government, but with limited regulation there are also inherent problems that are largely going unaddressed. The longer we wait to assess how best to adapt to the use of these technologies, the harder it will become to undo flaws later.

Larry Haake

Larry Haake

Larry Haake, independent

Question: Why should voters elect you to represent the legislative district?

Answer: With me as delegate, voters would have an experienced advocate with focus on their needs at the local level, not the inadequate representation that prevails. With 38-years work experience in local government – 16 years with Richmond Police and 22 years with Chesterfield County as General Registrar/Director of Elections – I know well the different needs of cities and counties, both of which are in the 63rd District. I have spent many hours testifying at the General Assembly during those 38 years as a subject matter expert and thus am well briefed in the workings at the state government level.

 Question: What are the top three policy issues you want to tackle and why?

 Answer:

1. Eliminate the Practice of Shortchanging Required Funding to Localities.

Localities are limited in their authority due to Virginia being a Dillon Rule state and thus must rely heavily on state grants of authority and funding. Financial responsibilities of the state to the localities are not being met as required by the Code of Virginia.

 2. Discontinuing Unfunded Mandates.

Requirements, regulations, and mandates that come from the state without the necessary funding adversely impact local governments and disrupt funding for local programs and perhaps even necessitate a local tax increase, all creating a negative impact on the quality of life for Virginians.

3. Change the policy priority from benefiting government to benefiting Virginians

If policy making was driven by what benefits Virginians instead of what benefits government or political parties, then my #1 and #2 issues would automatically be fixed. It is not truly beneficial for the state to claim prosperity when achieving it requires cutting funds to localities or sending unfunded mandates, leading to financial problems at the local level, adversely impacting the very citizens who sent the policy makers to the General Assembly. Government should be for the people, not the other way around.

Question: What is an issue that doesn’t get enough attention from the legislature?

Answer: Here I could mention any of the “popular” issues, but I am going to make STATESMANSHIP the issue that doesn’t get enough attention from the legislature. If there was more attention to statesmanship – defined as doing what is best for the common good of the people being represented - and less attention to politics – defined as doing what benefits one’s political party - then all of the “popular” issues, like guns and health care, would be better addressed and we would all be better off in Virginia.


House District 65

Parts of Chesterfield, Fluvanna and Goochland counties, all of Powhatan County.

Del. Lee Ware

Del. Lee Ware

Del. Lee Ware, Republican

Question: Why should voters elect you to represent the legislative district?

Answer: Because I strive to conscientiously represent citizens of every political affiliation, race, religion. To do this, I continually visit the distinct communities and civic groups of a diverse district. My voting record draws upon citizens’ views and needs and also two principles enunciated by Edmund Burke:

“A state without the means of some change, is without the means of its own conservation.” And, “Manners are of more importance than laws. Manners are what vex or soothe, corrupt or purify, exalt or debase, barbarize or refine us, by a constant, steady, uniform, insensible operation, like that of the air we breathe.”

Question: What are the top three policy issues you want to tackle and why?

Answer: Tax reform — because I serve as chair of the House Finance Committee; public safety generally, the security and safety of our schoolchildren specifically; roadways maintenance. Those noted, every legislator must assign nearly equal attention to the entire gamut of public policy issues, and on that broad front I strive to conduct thorough research, engage stakeholders on every point of the spectrum, and deliberate a just decision.

Question: What is an issue that doesn’t get enough attention from the legislature?

The financial costs and social consequences of an increasing number of our legislative initiatives.

Mike Asip

Mike Asip

Mike Asip, Democrat

Question: Why should voters elect you to represent the legislative district?

Answer: I have served as a teacher and an education leader for over 38 years. My candidacy offers residents a new choice for their delegate, with extensive experience leading change in education and empowering our families. As a division special education leader, I have led initiatives to support inclusive schools for students, managed multimillion-dollar federal grants and budgets affecting hundreds of teachers and support staff. And contrary to my opponent, my grassroots campaign is not driven by corporate donors, but by small citizen contributions. I will prioritize education, mental health services, health care, workforce development, economic growth, and rural broadband.

Question: What are the top three policy issues you want to tackle and why?

Answer:  Education - State funding for public schools must increase! I support raising teacher salaries, funding school divisions more equitably, adding counselors and literacy resources, expanding preschool, and reining in public college tuition increases.

Affordable Health Care - I support Medicaid expansion, controlling skyrocketing prescription drug costs, and seeking how Medicare and Medicaid could negotiate for lower priced medication. My opponent opposed Medicaid expansion that has provided over 300,000 Virginians with affordable healthcare.

Rural Broadband - We must close the rural digital divide! I support universal broadband with full funding of the governor’s Commonwealth Connect program to help localities get wired for the 21st century.

Question: What is an issue that doesn’t get enough attention from the legislature?

Answer: We need better regulation of the General Assembly elections. I would support proposed legislation strengthening election laws, including the financing of elections, which currently provide loosely regulated, unlimited contributions that skew influence toward high-dollar contributors, compromising our democratic elections. I support nonpartisan redistricting measures, including a need for a redistricting commission. I believe that rather than politicians choosing their voters, voters need to choose their politicians! We must have non-political redistricting so that every vote really counts! I would support having a panel of nonpartisan election experts, along with some partisan members with procedures to safeguard fair redistricting.


House District 66

Part of Chesterfield County, city of Colonial Heights

Kirk Cox

House Speaker Kirk Cox

Del. Kirk Cox, Republican

Question: Why should voters elect you to represent the legislative district?

Answer: I work tirelessly to make Colonial Heights, Chesterfield, and all of Virginia the best place to live, work, and raise a family. In addition to championing a quality public education system, I am dedicated and have a track record of improving veteran services, supporting citizens with disabilities, increasing economic development opportunities, and creating jobs. Most important to me is listening to what ideas and concerns are on the minds of my constituents.

Question: What are the top three policy issues you want to tackle and why?

Answer: I want to continue our record of success on creating a strong public education system by raising teacher pay to the national average and freezing college tuition, promote policies that will help our veterans, and efforts that will maintain Virginia’s status as the top state for business. Ensuring our children are prepared for an evolving workforce and keeping down their debt, helping our veterans after they’ve served, and protecting our state’s strong economy will keep Virginia a top state to live, work, and raise a family.

Question: What is an issue that doesn’t get enough attention from the legislature?

Answer: Improving veterans’ services has been a core focus of mine since being elected. Virginia has accomplished a lot to assist our active-duty military and their families, as well as ways to help those returning to civilian life. I’d like the General Assembly to emphasize our focus on helping the over 800,000 veterans in Virginia.

Sheila Bynum-Coleman

Sheila Bynum-Coleman

Sheila Bynum-Coleman, Democrat

Question: Why should voters elect you to represent the legislative district?

Answer: I first ran for the House of Delegates (in 2015 against Del. Riley Ingram, R-Hopewell) because my child with special needs wasn’t getting the support that he needed in school. I wanted to discuss this issue with my delegate, who in turn refused to meet with me. That’s when I realized we needed new leadership in the General Assembly.

While we might be the top in the country for business, we’re last for workers — I believe the difference perfectly illustrates what’s wrong with our politics. I want to look out for the people, not big corporate interests. I believe it’s time for some new faces and a fresh perspective in Richmond.

Question: What are the top three policy issues you want to tackle and why?

Answer: I care about a lot of issues — particularly the fight for equal pay for equal work, the minimum wage, criminal justice reform, the environment, and many others. If I have to choose just three, I would point to the issues that I discuss the most on the campaign trail: health care, education, and gun safety.

Almost everyone I talk to has been affected by the issues in some way. When I knock on doors in Chesterfield County and Colonial Heights, the people demand healthier and safer communities. When elected, I will prioritize your health, safety, and your children’s education over corporate interests.

Question: What is an issue that doesn’t get enough attention from the legislature?

Answer: The minimum wage desperately needs more attention in the General Assembly. As a small business owner and the first African American woman appointed to the Virginia Board of Contractors, I understand the needs of working families. No one can comfortably live on $7.25 an hour; it’s a poverty wage for single parents.

I’m convinced the votes would be there to raise the wage—and index it to inflation—if leadership brought it up for a vote. The people of Chesterfield County and Colonial Heights—and the people of Virginia in general—deserve a living wage. Period.


House District 68

Parts of Chesterfield and Henrico counties, part of the city of Richmond

Dawn Adams

Del. Dawn Adams, D-Richmond

Del. Dawn Adams, Democrat

Question: Why should voters elect you to represent the legislative district?

Answer: Working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, I have had an unusually high legislative success rate, passing 57% of the bills I introduced last session. As a freshman in the minority party this demonstrates my ability to build consensus and to lead in the House of Delegates.

I have worked diligently on issues of import to my constituents - health care, public education, protecting the environment, eliminating discrimination, ensuring public safety and promoting government transparency.

Question:  What are the top three policy issues you want to tackle and why?

Answer: I prioritize health care, education, and the environment so every Virginian may be afforded the opportunity to live the successful life of their choosing. Health is a basic necessity for being a productive member of society; education is the foundational opportunity for future success.

Prioritizing the opportunity for good health and education within a clean and safe environment are the building blocks of the society most want to live in and a smart investment. We must do this with our budget and our policy.

Question: What is an issue that doesn’t get enough attention from the legislature?

Answer: As an experienced nurse practitioner with a substantial policy background, I am all too aware of the struggles that many seniors experience, from chronic health issues to aging-at-home to financial stability. We have no infrastructure to support this and it will bankrupt us. As legislators we have the opportunity to address this problem, allowing us to age in place by decreasing barriers and providing pathways to the needed wraparound supports. I have the experience and knowledge to lead on this issue, offering innovative solutions, and an ability to facilitate productive conversations.

Garrison Coward

Garrison Coward

Garrison Coward, Republican

Question: Why should voters elect you to represent the legislative district?

Answer: Voters should elect me because I’m running on new ideas that will help move our state and community forward. We need a new generation of leaders to bring people together to solve problems. The people of Richmond, Chesterfield, and Henrico deserve better and voters should elect someone that they can trust to represent them in Richmond. I’m running for delegate to focus on what matters most: quality schools, good-paying jobs, lower taxes, and more options for affordable health care.

Question: What are the top three policy issues you want to tackle and why?

Answer: Education, Economic Growth, and Health Care are the top three policy issues I’d like to tackle. On education we should ensure competitive teacher pay and create programs that let students explore career fields earlier and strengthen career and technical education. We should also audit failing school systems to ensure tax dollars are being used in the classroom, not on bureaucracy. Encouraging strong economic growth starts with opposing tax hikes so families can invest in their futures and promoting business-friendly policies for all businesses. Virginia should focus on innovative ways to provide better and more affordable health care for everyone.

Question: What is an issue that doesn’t get enough attention from the legislature?

Answer: Making sure that we are integrating new technologies into our state government and society is something that I feel could get more attention from the legislature. Implementing new technologies would make government more efficient and innovative technologies like telemedicine would provide patients and health care providers with more options for care. I would like to modernize state agencies like the DMV and the ABC to make sure that our state government is being as efficient as possible without being a burden on people's everyday lives.


House District 71

Parts of Henrico County and the city of Richmond

Del. Jeff Bourne

Del. Jeff Bourne, D-Richmond

Del. Jeff Bourne, Democrat

Question: Why should voters elect you to represent the legislative district?

Answer: Voters should elect me to represent the 71st District because I share the same values. We all want world-class public education for our children. We want to live in a diverse community that is open to every person no matter the color of their skin, their race/nationality, sexual orientation or identity. I believe the legislation I have championed speaks to those ideals. Moreover, we have a lot of work to do in the Richmond region on critical issues like affordable housing, improving our transportation infrastructure and most importantly making sure our communities are safer by implementing common-sense gun violence reduction measures.

Question: What are the top three policy issues you want to tackle and why?

Answer: Education, criminal justice reform (including gun violence reduction), and affordable housing. These issues impact all of us in our district. Education is foundational. The commonwealth must do a better job of funding public education. Our local school divisions need the additional resources so that we have more school counselors providing a safe and supportive place of learning. We must support expansion of Pre-K. We must bring teacher salaries up. We must continue to chip away at the school-to-prison pipeline. Gun violence reduction and criminal justice reform must be a priority for the General Assembly. First, too many communities and families are devastated by gun violence that can be reduced through common-sense reform. Our criminal justice system needs to be reformed so that outcomes are not determined by a person’s race or economic status. Finally, affordable housing continues to be a significant challenge in the Richmond region. There is both a supply problem as well as a demand. We must incentivize and build more truly affordable housing to meet the demand. Doing so will allow us to create the diverse communities that help cities thrive.

Question: What is an issue that doesn’t get enough attention from the legislature?

 Answer: Gun violence reduction. Here in Richmond, gun violence plagues our communities far too often. Dozens of practical and fair firearm bills were killed in subcommittee these last two sessions and were never given a fair chance at a full debate on the House floor. I will strive to continue to fight for a fairer reform.

Pete Wells

Pete Wells

Pete Wells, Libertarian

Question: Why should voters elect you to represent the legislative district?

Answer: I represent a chance to break up the 2-party stalemate in Richmond. Over time Republicans and Democrats have grown more partisan and unwilling to form coalitions to accomplish legislative goals. Having a minor party presence in the House will break that stalemate up and force coalition building outside of partisan positions that tend to represent donors over citizens.

Question: What are the top three policy issues you want to tackle and why?

Answer: Criminal justice reform is a key priority for me. Our state spends millions of dollars imprisoning nonviolent offenders, conditions in our prisons need serious reworking and our state needs to move forward with legalization of medical and recreational cannabis.

I want to deregulate Virginia ABC. Compared to other states the Virginia ABC has far too much control over businesses and an unprecedented law enforcement power. The brutal 2015 assault on Martese Johnson and the 2013 incident where several armed agents terrified a group of UVA students over some sparkling water were eye-opening moments for many Virginians about how our armed state regulatory agents enforce nonviolent misdemeanors.

Eliminating Vehicle Inspection Stickers. They create an unnecessary burden of time and money for poorer Virginians who have to take off work to get inspections while providing no real reduction in safety.

Question: What is an issue that doesn’t get enough attention from the legislature?

Answer: Ballot access and campaign finance reform to make participation in electoral politics more accessible for independent and minor party candidates who don't have the benefit of powerful entrenched politicians backed by millions of dollars from corporate donors.


House District 72

Part of Henrico County

Schuyler VanValkenburg

Del. Schuyler VanValkenburg, D-Henrico

Del. Schuyler VanValkenburg, Democrat

Question: Why should voters elect you to represent the legislative district?

Answer: As a public school teacher in Henrico for 15 years, I have experienced the changes that have occurred in our county and witnessed the diverse issues and needs of our community on a day-to-day basis. Serving as delegate for the last two years, I helped 12,498 Henrico residents - and counting - gain access to affordable health insurance, worked to get teachers a 5% pay raise, led the charge to add more counselors in schools, started the process to end gerrymandering through redistricting reform, and stood as a voice for all Virginians - regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation.

Question: What are the top three policy issues you want to tackle and why?

Answer:

● Improve public education.

○ Improve teacher retention and recruitment by paying our teachers more and improving their work environment - both issues I’ve worked on extensively.

○ Virginia must also help localities properly fund education. State investments are 10% lower than in 2008.

● Control medical costs and protect high standards of care. We must incentivize preventative care, lower drug costs, end surprise billing, protect Medicaid expansion, and preserve coverage for pre-existing conditions.

● Build on the work I started on the Committee for School Safety, by matching investments in counselors with common-sense gun violence prevention measures; including red flag laws and universal background checks.

Question: What is an issue that doesn’t get enough attention from the legislature?

Answer: Redistricting reform and good governance. We need an independent commission that quarantines political data so politicians aren’t drawing lines to their own benefit. Fairer districts and competitive elections encourage moderation and good-faith negotiation instead of polarization and brinksmanship, allowing us to progress on the issues important to Virginians, no matter what party is in control.

GayDonna Vandergriff

GayDonna Vandergriff

GayDonna Vandergriff, Republican

Question: Why should voters elect you to represent the legislative district?

Answer: Having knocked nearly 8,000 doors myself during this campaign, the thing I hear most is people are tired of the political noise. In my 20+ years of community service, politics were never the focus. The goal was to lend a hand, to fill a need, to invest in our community, and to make a difference. Voters want solutions and leadership, not partisan talking points. Policies that come down from the state should support, not hinder Henrico's local government, schools, and businesses. I will always put people before politics to do what is best for Henrico.

Question: What are the top three policy issues you want to tackle and why?

Health care: As a diabetic, I have a pre-existing condition. No one should be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition. I have a duty to provide that safety net. We also need to address the rising costs of prescriptions and premiums.

Public Education: If not for public education, my family would have no education. I will champion public schools. We must raise teacher pay to the national average and work to reduce classroom sizes.

The Economy: Virginia should be a hub for high-paying job creation. We need alluring economic policies to attract continued business investments to the commonwealth.

Question: What is an issue that doesn’t get enough attention from the legislature?

Answer: One of the key ways I closed the economic gap in my childhood was through free resources available at my local library. As a child, I was an avid reader and learned much about the world through books. I am proud to have advocated for the expansion of Henrico’s library system during my tenure as chairman of the Henrico County Library Advisory Board. Libraries are an equalizer. They empower people by giving them access to information they otherwise may not have. State-focused efforts to help advance literacy will lift children out of poverty as it did for me.


House District 73

Part of Henrico County

Rodney Willett

Rodney Willett

Rodney Willett, Democrat

Question: Why should voters elect you to represent the legislative district?

Answer: I have spent my career trying to make a difference in the health care and education space through various charities. These organizations have helped thousands of Virginians but they will never solve the bigger systemic problems facing our communities. Health care is not affordable or accessible for too many. Public school teachers are paid $10,000 below the national average. We have seen continued inaction from a Republican majority on gun safety reform. I want to use my skills and experience as an advocate in the General Assembly to take on these issues for the people of Henrico County.

Question: What are the top three policy issues you want to tackle and why?

Answer: I will work to ensure access to quality affordable health care and to ensure no one ever has to choose between filling a prescription and paying a bill.

I want to invest in our public schools so all our children have the opportunity to succeed.

Unlike what happened last July, where the Republicans unceremoniously shut down the special session, I will truly advocate for reasonable gun safety measures.

Question: What is an issue that doesn’t get enough attention from the legislature?

Answer: In Henrico, we are spending more and more time stuck on roads that are parking lots, commutes and routine shopping trips extended by traffic. I want to make sure that we address infrastructure and roads, improving them and augmenting mass transit.

Mary Margaret Kastelberg

Mary Margaret Kastelberg

Mary Margaret Kastelberg, Republican

Question: Why should voters elect you to represent the legislative district?

Answer: As your delegate, I will contribute a unique combination of skills, experience and understanding. I have worked, struggled, and raised my family in Henrico, and I understand the challenges and rewards families face daily. I have spent over 30 years in business and finance and have valuable insight into the needs of the small-business owners who drive our local economy. I have also witnessed the struggles of the most vulnerable in our community through my work with local nonprofits. I will work with people of all viewpoints to address issues and find solutions for Henrico.

Question: What are the top three policy issues you want to tackle and why?

Answer: Improve education by focusing on outcomes. We need to focus on preparing students to be self-sufficient, think critically, and be ready for next phases across all education systems.

Reduce health care costs by establishing price transparency and increasing the number of coverage options to meet the wide array of needs and preferences of consumers.

Maintain quality of life in Henrico. I will collaborate with local leaders, businesses and citizens so that we are investing wisely in our infrastructure and planning for the future while maintaining our Henrico character.

Question: What is an issue that doesn’t get enough attention from the legislature?

Answer: Though it is starting to gain more traction, I still feel that the issues surrounding adult learning should garner more attention in the legislature. If we want to continue to grow our economy and have jobs for the 21st century, we need to ensure we are not only supporting our youth but also our adult learners. Adult learners may be transitioning to a new field because of industry changes, or they may be seeking to further their education later in life – no matter their reasoning, I want to be an advocate for them.


House District 97

Parts of Hanover, King William and New Kent counties

Scott Wyatt

Scott Wyatt

Scott Wyatt, Republican

Question: Why should voters elect you to represent the legislative district?

Answer: For 33 years, I worked as an Operations Manager in the telecommunications industry. I am proud of my ability to communicate with people and provide strong customer service. For the past four years, I have served the citizens of Hanover County as a supervisor in the Cold Harbor District. I’d like to use that experience to provide the type of representation and constituent services residents of the 97th District expect and deserve. Additionally, I am committed to fighting for the conservative, common-sense values that make the commonwealth a great place to live, work, and raise a family.

Question: What are the top three policy issues you want to tackle and why?

Answer: Creating jobs and strengthening our economy, while keeping taxes low, continues to be at the top of most individuals’ priorities and it is certainly mine. We need to make sure well-paying jobs are available to Virginians and keep the government and burdensome regulations from stifling our growth. We must also make sure our students have the highest quality education possible, regardless of their ZIP code. Finally, we must continue to bolster public safety in the commonwealth. As a supervisor, I have a strong record of support for our law enforcement, public safety, and EMT personnel.

Question: What is an issue that doesn’t get enough attention from the legislature?

Answer: We need to continue efforts to bolster workforce development and pay special attention to vocational training. Not every student may wish to pursue a four-year college path. There are many excellent, well-paying, and rewarding jobs available and I would like to continue to build on efforts to let our youth have access to these jobs, while expanding opportunities for apprenticeships and internships for high school students.

Kevin Washington

Kevin Washington

Kevin Washington, Democrat (Did not respond.)


Senate District 4

Parts of Hanover, Spotsylvania, King George and Westmoreland counties; all of Caroline, Essex, Middlesex, Lancaster, Northumberland and Richmond counties.

Sen. Ryan McDougle

Sen. Ryan McDougle, R-Hanover

Sen. Ryan McDougle, Republican

Question: Why should voters elect you to represent the legislative district?

Answer: It has been my privilege to serve the citizens of the 4th Senate District of Virginia. I continue to fight for increased broadband availability, improved infrastructure, solutions to the opioid epidemic, and lower health care costs. I am proud of the exemplary constituent services my office provides and hope to have the continued privilege of serving our community for four more years.

Question: What are the top three policy issues you want to tackle and why?

Answer: I continue to fight to increase broadband coverage in my district. We also need to address rising health care costs and premiums in Virginia, where expanding Medicaid hasn’t proven to be the solution. Last year, Medicaid blew a $500 million hole in our budget and will only continue to grow. Common-sense solutions, including allowing group plans for farmers and businesses and eliminating restrictions on new health care providers opening in all areas, will be significant steps to reduce costs. Additionally, we need to continue protecting what makes Virginia a great state to do business in, low taxes, conservative budgeting, and protecting our right-to-work laws.

Question: What is an issue that doesn’t get enough attention from the legislature?

 Answer: When we create a budget in relation to the governor’s term. Outgoing governors present a two-year budget one month before they leave office. New governors come into their term inheriting their predecessor’s budget, for better or for worse. Former Governor Kaine’s final budget included $2 billion in unapproved tax increases, saddling incoming Governor McDonnell with a $2 billion fiscal hole. We need to shift when the budget process begins so that a governor has two complete budget cycles during their term, which would increase accountability and encourage the introduction of more fiscally responsible budgets.

Stan Scott

Stan Scott

Stan Scott, Democrat

Question: Why should voters elect you to represent the legislative district?

Answer: I’ve taken no contributions from corporations or lobbyists. I’ll listen to the concerns of the actual people who live in the district and protect their interests instead of worrying about pharmaceutical and tobacco companies. I’ll work to build a commonwealth rather than protect corporate wealth. If we take care of workers, students, and families, corporations will have the customer base they need to thrive.

Question: What are the top three policy issues you want to tackle and why?

Answer: The standard answer here is health care, education, gun violence or the environment, and I want to bring change in all of these areas. But the truth is that citizens’ representatives have no chance to bring change of any kind until we do something about campaign finance in Virginia. My opponent has accepted tens of thousands of dollars in contributions from bankers, beer wholesalers, trial lawyers, tobacco companies, and regulated utilities. So the first issue I would tackle would be campaign finance reform. We have to make sure politicians from both parties listen to constituents, not special interests.

Question: What is an issue that doesn’t get enough attention from the legislature?

Answer: Campaign finance reform does not get enough attention from the legislature. No one in the General Assembly wants change here because entrenched interests on both sides like the system as it is. We need to limit political campaign contributions from corporations, interest groups and lobbyists to no more than $500. And we need to ban campaign contributions from regulated utilities altogether.


Senate District 9

Parts of the city of Richmond and Henrico and Hanover counties; all of Charles City County.

Jennifer McClellan

Sen. Jennifer McClellan

Sen. Jennifer McClellan, Democrat

Question: Why should voters elect you to represent the legislative district?

Answer: Government can be a force for constructive change to meet the needs of all Virginians, but too often it has focused only on the needs and perspectives of a few. I have worked to be responsive to the needs of my constituents and make Virginia the best place to raise a family, run a business, and build a community in a way that removes systematic inequities caused by policy decisions of the past that left many Virginians behind. I will continue to do so in a way that seeks out and values the views of all affected stakeholders.

Question: What are the top three policy issues you want to tackle and why?

Answer: Ensuring that all Virginia children have access to a world-class education system from pre-K to higher education because education is the foundation for a democratic republic and a thriving economy.

Ensuring economic opportunity for all working Virginians by helping Virginia’s economy adapt to changes in technology and the marketplace and facilitating training in new and growing industries so no worker is left behind.

Increasing energy efficiency and expanding the use of renewable/non-carbon based energy sources because continued reliance on fossil fuels at the current pace is unsustainable from both an environmental and economic perspective.

Question: What is an issue that doesn’t get enough attention from the legislature?

Answer: We do not spend enough time proactively identifying and responding to megatrends that will impact our economy, government, information, and education systems, such as changes in technology, demographic trends, and environmental changes. As a result, we are often reacting too late to address these trends, which constantly shift faster than public policy can adapt.

Mark Lewis

Mark Lewis

Mark Lewis, Libertarian (Did not respond.)


Senate District 10

Parts of Chesterfield County and the city of Richmond, all of Powhatan County

Glen Sturtevant

Sturtevant

Sen. Glen Sturtevant, R-Chesterfield

Question: Why should voters elect you to represent the legislative district?

Answer: In the Senate, I’ve been an independent voice advancing solutions to the challenges facing our community and I will continue to do so if re-elected. My focus has remained on the kitchen-table issues that matter most to Virginians, like supporting our teachers and public schools, fighting for health care solutions that drive down the cost of care for patients, lowering taxes for families, and supporting policies to grow our economy and create jobs, which is why Virginia is again ranked the number one “Best State in the Country to do Business.”

Question: What are the top three policy issues you want to tackle and why?

Answer: As the husband of a teacher and father of three elementary students, I am focused on supporting our teachers and schools. That includes reducing and reforming the SOLs so teachers can focus on teaching essential critical thinking skills and a love of learning. Second, I am working to lower the cost of higher education, so every child has access to the education that’s right for them. Finally, making health care more affordable and accessible will remain one of my top policy goals. Middle-class families have been left behind and the cost of insurance must be brought under control.

Question: What is an issue that doesn’t get enough attention from the legislature?

Answer: The legislature hasn’t done enough to lessen the influence of special interests. While I refuse all gifts, the law still allows them. I’ve fought special interests to end surprise billing and offer more affordable insurance options that cover pre-existing conditions, but the health care insurance lobby kills these common-sense efforts. Additionally, I introduced legislation to eliminate tax loopholes in order to increase funding for education. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported on the long line of special interests that showed up in opposition. As I said then, when you have every lobbyist in the building against your bill, it must be good for Virginians.

Ghazala Hashmi

Ghazala Hashmi

Ghazala Hashmi, Democrat

Question: Why should voters elect you to represent the legislative district?

Answer: I have lived, worked, and raised my family in this region for nearly 30 years and now I want to bring my unique background, fresh ideas, and extensive experience to our General Assembly. As a longtime educator, I understand the struggles that so many people in our district face as they try to get ahead in life. In the Senate I will stand up for quality public education, affordable health care, and common-sense measures to reduce gun violence.

Question: What are the top three policy issues you want to tackle and why?

Answer: a) Education is a public good, which is why I will prioritize investing in it to ensure that every child is afforded the same opportunities, regardless of their ZIP code.

b) Health care is a right, not a privilege. I will fight to protect Medicaid expansion, which gave 400,000 Virginians access to affordable health care.

c) As parents, we shouldn’t have to worry that our children could be a part of the next mass shooting, which is why I support common-sense gun safety reforms such as universal background checks.

Question: What is an issue that doesn’t get enough attention from the legislature?

Answer: It’s clear that with the growing epidemic of gun violence in our communities, our legislature is not doing enough to prioritize gun violence prevention. When a special legislative session was called after the Virginia Beach shooting, Republicans voted to adjourn it without any action taken. I won’t stand for that. The people of the 10th District need a senator who isn't afraid to stand up to the corporate gun lobby and pass common-sense gun safety legislation to keep our communities safe.


Senate District 11

Part of Chesterfield County, all of Amelia County and the city of Colonial Heights

Amanda Chase

Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield

Sen. Amanda Chase, Republican

Question: Why should voters elect you to represent the legislative district?

Answer: I have a proven record of getting things done with over 11 bills signed into law just this year alone. I am an outspoken advocate for the people and in touch with my district, having grown up here, educated here, and raised my kids here, so I am fully vested in this community.

Question: What are the top three policy issues you want to tackle and why?

Answer:

1. Eliminate Gun Free zones which disarm law-abiding citizens

2. Education reform because ZIP code should not determine the quality of your child’s education

3. Make health care more affordable through greater transparency in the costs of health care, which would allow the patient to shop for best value. We need to expand the Health Care Transparency Act, which I was the chief patron of and successfully had signed into law, to include all health care providers, not just hospitals.

Question: What is an issue that doesn’t get enough attention from the legislature?

Answer: There needs to be more accountability and transparency for Economic Development Authorities (EDAs). The government should not be picking winners and losers.

Amanda Pohl

Amanda Pohl

Amanda Pohl, Democrat

Question: Why should voters elect you to represent the legislative district?

Answer: I grew up in this district. I am a mom, a former hospital chaplain, a deacon at my church. In other words, I am not a career politician but someone who became fed up with the unresponsiveness and inaction by my legislators in Richmond. During my campaign, I have been listening to what constituents want – from both sides of the aisle. I am committed to continuing to listen and ready to work hard to improve our community. I'm also a policy social worker committed to evidence-based solutions and have the skills to be effective from day one.

Question: What are the top three policy issues you want to tackle and why?

Answer: My priorities are making sure health care is affordable for all Virginians, prioritizing fully funding public education for the future of our children and our economy and fixing and improving our infrastructure. These are my priorities because this is what I hear most about from residents of my district as I have knocked on doors and speak to neighbors. My emphasis on health care also comes from what I saw as a hospital chaplain. I watched families lose loved ones because they couldn't afford basic prescription drugs. Everyone deserves affordable health care, which we can do with innovation in Virginia.

Question: What is an issue that doesn’t get enough attention from the legislature?

Answer: Health care. Even though we recently expanded Medicaid, which has helped over 300,000 Virginians get access to health care, many for the first time in their lives, we still have a crisis in our health care system. We have middle-class families paying over $2,000 a month for premiums. We have people still avoiding the emergency room for fear of financial ruin. We continue to have hard-working Virginians who cannot afford basic life-saving prescriptions. We can and must do more to help Virginian families afford health care. This can be done through public-private partnerships and holding insurance and drug companies accountable.


Senate District 12

Parts of Henrico and Hanover counties

Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant

Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant

Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant, Republican

Question: Why should voters elect you to represent the legislative district?

Answer: I ran for office for the first time in 2015 because I thought I could contribute to real solutions in health care and education. In my first term, I have had 55 different bills passed into law. Twenty-six of those were health care-related and over a dozen were co-sponsored with Democrats. All of these bills were signed into law by a Democratic governor. I have cut through the emotionally charged, hyper-political environment and found solutions that really work and build consensus around those solutions. I would like to continue that work for the 12th Senate District for four more years.

Question: What are the top three policy issues you want to tackle and why?

Answer: Reducing the cost of health care with creative innovations that increase competition. Seventy percent of Virginians are not covered by Medicaid or Medicare. Their premium costs have skyrocketed along with their copays. I will spend the next four years continuing my work to reduce cost, increase competition, and make sure families keep more of their hard-earned money. I will never support a government-run solution.

Making it easier, faster and less expensive to get a great job right here in Virginia. I will build upon the legislation I have already passed to ensure once you earn a college credit in Virginia, it will count towards any program you want to pursue to finish your education. This includes dual enrollment in high schools, community colleges, higher education, and yes, earning credit for work experience and internships. We can reduce cost, debt and time if we interconnect high-quality education at all levels.

It’s not enough to recruit or expand business in Virginia. We must have a workforce ready for the jobs. I want to finish building an education workforce portal for Virginia. This portal would interconnect every resource to ensure Virginians know what jobs are available, how good they are, what education you need to get them, and what financial aid is available to help you get there. This would create a one-stop shop for figuring out how to get the education necessary to get a great job and determine which jobs are in demand.

Question: What is an issue that doesn’t get enough attention from the legislature?

Answer: We have a genuine mental health crisis. The legislature spends a lot of time and money on this issue, but until we look at it as a comprehensive issue that crosses across many agencies in government we will not make real progress. I am committed to this comprehensive approach which will increase access to care and improve outcomes.

Del. Debra Rodman

Del. Debra Rodman

Del. Debra Rodman, Democrat

Question: Why should voters elect you to represent the Senate district?

Answer: This election is about bringing our community’s voice to the General Assembly. There is chaos happening in D.C. right now and people are really worried. We want a fighter who will stand up and protect us from the dangerous policies President Trump is implementing.

For example: health care. People feel really vulnerable. In 2017 every door I went to, every voter I talked to, people wanted Medicaid expansion. I fought for them — and I delivered.

My constituents know how hard I fight for them. I’m excited to fight even harder to do more good for more people in the Senate.

Question: What are the top three policy issues you want to tackle and why?

Answer: We need to push to fully fund our schools back to pre-recession levels. Like so many in our community, I moved to Henrico to raise a family and send my kids to world-class schools.

I also hear from folks every day on the doors concerned about gun violence. Like many parents, I worry for my sons’ safety when we send them off to school. We need to pass real measures to prevent gun violence.

Health care costs are deeply concerning to our community. Trump and my opponent’s attempts to sabotage the ACA are not helping. We need leaders who will protect Virginians from national attacks on our health care.

Answer: What is an issue that doesn’t get enough attention from the legislature?

Answer: We need to emphasize reforming our campaign finance system and returning our government to the people. Special-interest big money has corroded the faith people have that their elected officials actually represent them. Many issues the people want discussed — like gun violence prevention — never get a discussion. This is because special interests like the NRA pose a looming threat that polarizes legislators that might otherwise find common ground. Addressing big money in politics needs more attention if we expect to work together as Democrats and Republicans in the best interest of all our constituents.


Senate District 16

Parts of Chesterfield, Prince George and Dinwiddie counties, part of the city of Richmond and all of the cities of Petersburg and Hopewell.

Joe Morrissey

Joe Morrissey

Joe Morrissey, Democrat

Question: Why should voters elect you to represent the legislative district?

Answer: Respectfully, the voters in the 16th state Senate District should elect me because I am absolutely tireless when it comes to constituent service. Former Massachusetts Congressman Tip O’Neill was correct when he said: “All politics is local." I built my reputation in the House of Delegates on constituent service. Be it unpaved roads in Charles City, crumbling sidewalks in Hopewell, trash-filled alleys in Richmond or potholes in Henrico, I was “Johnny on the Spot” when I served in the House of Delegates. I hereby promise to continue that same style of personal hands-on constituent service as a member of the Virginia state Senate. Here is my solemn promise. If you live in the 16th Senate District and you have a problem and the matter is not being addressed by your local representative, call “911 Morrissey” and I will respond.

Question: What are the top three policy issues that you want to tackle and why?

Answer: 1. Criminal justice reform - I want to permanently eliminate the law that suspends somebody’s driver’s license for failure to pay fines and cost. Current legislation, passed in 2019, is a stop gap/temporary measure. I want to double the number of Drug Courts in Virginia and create, for the first time in the history of the commonwealth, a Mental Health Court. If somebody commits an unlawful act while in the throes of a mental health crisis, that is not a crime and the bed that they need for recovery should not be a jail bed. I will introduce legislation to eliminate the death penalty in the commonwealth and to decriminalize marijuana, like 26 of our sister states have done. Finally, in all aspects of life, people need hope. Accordingly, I will introduce legislation to reinstate parole in the commonwealth of Virginia.

2. Clean Energy - I support the creation of a clean energy standard (CES) in Virginia. The production and distribution of energy in the commonwealth of Virginia is changing before our eyes. Production is moving from fossil fuel to renewables. Kudos to Dominion Energy for agreeing to invest $8 billion dollars in offshore wind farms, a wonderful start. Solar panels on all schools and municipal buildings in the commonwealth, electric charging stations in our inner cities, biomass to fuel school buses and wind farms in the Atlantic Ocean will be my focus once I’m elected to the state Senate.

3. Education – I served on the House Education Committee for almost eight years and am a former History and Government teacher. Funding for education is in my DNA. I support Republican Bill Stanley’s Senate Bill 1330 which sought to create a $3 billion-dollar fund for the construction, repair and modernization of schools throughout the commonwealth. Accordingly, I will work with both Republicans and Democrats to pass a comprehensive School Modernization bill. Finally, I will also support a public private partnership for preschools in all ZIP codes in the commonwealth.

Question: What is an issue that doesn’t get enough attention from the legislature?

Answer: Opioid treatment for both addicts as well as inmates must be addressed by all 140 legislators in 2020. Drug overdoses killed over 1,484 Virginians in 2018 and remain today the leading cause of unnatural deaths in the state. 813 of those deaths were attributed to Fentanyl. I will immediately introduce legislation to double the ARTS Program (Addiction Recovery Treatment Services) which combines medicine and counseling. Chesterfield County’s Heroin Addiction Recovery Program (HARP) and Henrico’s RISE and ORBIT Programs should be the gold standard in Virginia and I will work to make this happen.

Waylin Ross

Waylin Ross

Waylin Ross, independent (Did not respond.)

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